tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 8, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PST
between the three of them. that mystery turns 40 years old today. forty years old. and it may never be solved. but next time you see a cool picture of the earth from space, don't take it for granted. don't just assume that kind of thing is easy to do, just jump up in a satellite. take a minute to savor how freaking unbelievable it is they were ever able to get a shot like that at all. that does it for us tonight. rachel will be back here monday. don't forget, you can check out my work at the "washington post" at wonkblog.com, or follow me on twitter, and on facebook, facebook.com/ezraklein. weekends with alex witt is up next. same-sex marriage. the supreme court decides to tackle two big cases on it. we'll examine all the possible outcomes that could be landmark rulings. twenty days and counting. even if president obama and the gop reach a deal, could it all get done before the first of the
year? a royal hoax and a tragic death. the radio station behind a tragic call to the hospital where kate middleton stayed is behind a tragic suicide. remarkable story of journalist's recent travels. how did iranian people act towards an american. this is alex witt. the countdown is on until the nation falls over the fiscal cliff. some sharp new words from president obama this morning in his weekly address. >> if we're serious about reducing our deficit, while still investing in things like education and research that are important to growing our economy, and if we're serious about protecting middle class families, we're also going to have to ask the wealthiest americans to pay higher tax rates. that's one wrins pal i won't compromise on. >> good saturday morning to you, mike. >> hi, alex. >> let's talk about the time line. is there a realistic one in
which this can all get done by the beginning of the year? >> i think there is, alex. i think people know the parameters of the year. it's just can they get there, do they have the political will to get there. more importantly, alex, do they have the votes to get there in the house of representatives. you heard the president. he says no compromise on this issue of raising taxes for the wealthy. there's one glimmer of hope, how much to hike taxes. as you know, clinton tax rates for wealthiest americans were 39.6%. that's what's going to happen at the beginning of the year. right now they are 35%. the president has been insisting all along those rates rise again but there's wiggle room here. president biden asked if it could be 37%, hedged on the question. even john boehner initial why when asked this question hedged a little bit. speaking of republicans, a rising star, senator marco rubio had this response in the weekly gop response to the president. >> we must get the national debt under control. tax increases will not solve our
$16 trillion debt. only economic growth and a reform of sbilgsment programs will help control the debt. we must reform our complicated uncertain job killing tax code by getting rid of unjustified loopholes. but our goal should be generating revenue by creating new taxpayers not new taxes. so alex, the question, your initial question, can it get done? the answer is yes. joe biden joked yesterday he could run it up to the hill from the white house in 15 minutes and run it back and have the president sign it. maybe not that quick. but most people believe if the will is there and votes are there it could get done in relatively short order. >> that's the big question. the vice president would only be able to get that to send to the president if the republicans put something in the house they think will pass. when it comes to a vote, would they put anything up there they are 100% certain is true. >> the old adage in the house of representatives, whether democrats or republicans running
the place, the majority of the majority. those are the bills you put on the floor. the majority of republicans in this case would go along with a tax like that is highly questionable. if john boehner put something on the floor, no matter the slight of hand, legislative back covering that goes on, in other words, offering a series of different votes on different things, it's going to be very, very difficult. they will need democrats to pass it and perhaps not coincidentally who was at the white house yesterday, nancy pelosi talking to the president. >> okay. mike viqueira talking to us. thanks so much. developing news this morning, nbc news has learned egyptian authorities have made a major arrest in the gaza libya consulate attack that killed ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. reporting from cairo, egypt, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, alex. sources tell nbc news they have a man in custody they believe is connected to the u.s. consulate in benghazi that took place september 11th and killed four
americans, including ambassador chris stevens. according to the egyptian source the man is identified as being in his late 30s. he's known to egyptian intelligence officials for his connections in the past with extremist groups both in egypt and libya and his connections with groups in afghanistan and iraq. acht the country's revolution he managed to escape from a prison where he was being held. it was shortly afterwards he emerged on the scene for egyptian intelligence officials who say he began trading arms into libya, egypt and ultimately onto gaza. right now there's no indication what role he may have played precisely in the attack on the u.s. consulate. he's held in custody. there's conflicting reports as to when he was actually detained. some suggested he was arrested on friday morning. there are other reports suggesting he had been arrested several weeks ago. right now he remains in egyptian custody. he has not been charged with any precise accusations. he is, however, being questioned by egyptian officials as to what
role he may have played, what information he may not -- know. handles security related charges here in the country. he's one of many threads involved in the benghazi attack. there are reports of individuals arrested in tunisia that may also have connections. right now, though, there's no confirmation as to what role he actually played. nbc news, cairo. >> all right. thank you for that. well, president obama may be in a new battle with congress this time over sandy relief money. he asked to prove $64 billion for the hard hit states like new york and new jersey. most of that money is meant to help the victims. $13 billion will be used to protect against future storms. but a democratic aide tells nbc news they don't expect republicans to hand over the money saying, quote, we're going to have to fight for it. to the saturday weather now, snow is the word in parts of the
country, washington state, a foot is expected to fall. a storm blanketing the midwest. nbc meteorologist dylan has the details. >> reporter: good morning, alex. not too many dry spots across the northern half of the country. it's snowy across michigan right now where most of the cold air is located. elsewhere we are seeing freezing rain in central and northern new england. rain moving through massachusetts right now, sprinkling in new york city. some heavier rain in southern ohio. the big story is the winter weather out through montana, through the dakotas and eventually spreading east into minnesota and eventually wisconsin later today. because of that we do have winter storm warnings and advisories all across the northern tier of the country, the northern rockies, back into idaho. we are going to see some of that snow continue to fall throughout the day. it doesn't look too bad now but we will see it intensify and also some isolated blizzard warnings across the northern rockies as well. once those winds pick up and
visibility reduced. billings, montana, 25 degrees, 43 in chicago and northeast, even boston, we'll top out around 46 degrees today. while it is snowing across the northern rockies, no snow across the northeast. instead showery this morning. some improvements this afternoon. even sunday it still looks unsettled. in fact, the entire northeast will be unsettled into the start of next week. alex. >> thanks for that. the second winner of last month's huge powerball jackpot has come forward, he's just not showing his face. arizona lottery official say he claimed his prize but chose to remain anonymous, which is allowed under the law. the man in his 30s walking with $192 million before taxes, all in his pocket. up next nbc's pete williams with a huge move by the supreme court on same-sex marriage. plus at the half hour we'll talk to a legal expert that argued more than 30 cases before the
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well, we're going to talk about this person, the stalemate over the fiscal cliff, now the subject of a petition on the white house website. demands everyone in congress forfeit their paychecks and health care benefits until the deal is reached on the fiscal cliff. we'll be talking about whether -- we made a mistake earlier, if that person will make a difference for
republicans not a representative. if nothing is worked out before the new year, it calls for a two-year, 15% pay cut for both the president and capitol hill lawmakers. so far 10,000 people have signed it. t minus 24 days and counting until the nation could begin that dreaded slide down the fiscal cliff. we're going to get to that in just a moment. well, we're going to do that now. let's listen to house speaker john boehner, he had this to say. >> this isn't a progress report, because there's no progress to report. when it comes to the fiscal cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week. >> joining me now, white house correspondent for the hill and congressional correspondent ed o'keith. hi, guys, good to see you both. >> good morning. >> you heard john boehner. we'll start with you. meanwhile the white house say republicans are the ones to blame for dragging their feet. at least publicly, seems we're
walking on a treadmill, getting nowhere. anything bigger churning behind the scenes? >> we certainly hope so. the fact two sides do toin to talk, even if we don't necessarily hear about every detail is encouraging. it does appear republicans are getting close to the idea of raising -- sorry, of cutting taxes for middle income americans and maybe sorting out higher incomes a little later. certainly things aren't necessarily going the republicans way. i think we've seen polling this week that suggests congressional republicans would be held to account if, in fact, the country does go over the cliff. but friday sort of signaled, as boehner said, there really hasn't been substantive progress this week. that is troubling. if we're at the same time next week, it will be troubling. >> 146,000 jobs add,
unemployment rates drops .2 down to 7.7. does this report give any help to the fiscal cliff at all? >> it gives the president some leverage. he's been campaigning on how the economy is getting better. this backs his point of the economy is getting better. he can now say we're seeing improvement. this sort of goes back to his point like trust me, this is all good. you can take my word. this is what we need to do to keep moving the economy forward. >> ed, what about things being accomplished in these face-to-face talks with the president and speaker boehner? doesn't speaker boehner, he still has to answer to the tea party to some degree. >> to some degree. but this week there was a bit of a power grab by the speaker where he kind of punished about four or five more conservative members of his caucus by reassigning them off of more prominent committees and basically telling them, look, if you're not in lock step with me, you're going to face consequences. that added to sort of a growing
sense of unity, caucus generally trusts he's going to negotiate a deal amenable to them. he still seems to have his party's back. we'll see. if he appears to give too much, certainly he might face a bit of a revolt. otherwise, yes, it has basically come down to the president and speaker. that was something the white house was trying to avoid. in the end as mike viqueira said earlier, you need the majority of the majority, most republicans on for this. without them it may not pass the house. okay. let's go to the surprise resignation right now of the tea party favorite from south carolina, senator jim demint. it seems rather sudden. amy, why do you think it's happening now? >> i don't know. i think that's something ed can speak to a little better. he covers congress. >> ed, jump in. >> don't worry about it. he was slated to become the republican on the congress
committee. he had to get out now or else he would have to put together a staff. made sense for him to go now. secondly, leaving and essentially announcing it now gives the governor enough time over the next few weeks to make a decision who to put in. he made it clear he wasn't running for election when he was up in 2016. there were some rumblings he would leave early. some people do this when they announce they aren't running again. sets up a fantastic scenario for republicans. all the talk around tim scott. he's a congressman, a black republican, very conservative. what would it say that the state that once elected strom thurmond to the senate would potentially have the only black man in the senate and he just so happens is a republican. you would put potentially tim scott in the senate, have him elected to a full term conceivably. lindsey graham up for election in 2014 and a governor's race in south carolina in 2014. so the palmetto state would
become ground zero in a year and a half politically setting up ahead of the 2016 presidential cycle. in a sense, this is a great idea. put in a new young star, put him in place, make him as conservative as jim demint. let him go to the heritage foundation and run a think tank, graham gets saved. in a lot of ways people makes a lot of sense. >> ed, you do know your stuff on capitol hill. not surprisingly. we'll see you begin soon. thank you so much. >> thank you. let's go now to what could be the civil rights cases and generation. the supreme court decided to take up two challenges to same-sex marriage. pete williams live in washington. pete, with a good morning to you, let's get all the details on these cases from you. fill us in. >> this is a very big deal, alex. the supreme court has never before in its history agreed to take a serious look at the issue of same-sex marriages and now it's going to be doing that the justices will look at two
questions. first, can the federal government refuse to recognize these marriages in the states where they are already legal and secondly, what's to come of them in california. just a day after washington state become the latest allowing gay couples to get married, the supreme court said it will delve into one of the nation's most hotly debated issues. >> the highest court in the land has decided to take up what will be one of the biggest civil rights cases that this court could ever hear. >> the court agreed to take up the legal battle over california's proposition 8 passed by voters four years ago ending same-sex marriage in the state. a federal appeals court ruled the ban unconstitutional on grounds that applied only in california. but now that the supreme court is weighing in, the justices could get to the more basic issue. can any state ban same-sex marriage. nine permit it or will, so does washington diagnosis. the court also agreed to hear a challenge to the federal defense of marriage absent. it defines marriage as, quote,
only a legal union between one man and one woman. the law had a big effect on eddie windsor of new york who married thea spire. when she died leaving her the state, the irs sent a tax bill for $363,000 because they did not consider them to be married. >> i think ultimately just couldn't believe it. i couldn't believe they were making a stranger of this person i lived with and loved for 43 something years. >> under that law, same-sex couples who are legally married are denied about 1,000 federal benefits that other married couples get. after supporting defense of marriage act the obama administration concluded last year it violates the constitution. >> we cannot defend the federal government poking its nose into what states are doing and putting a thumb on the scale against same-sex couples. >> house republicans are now taking up the law's legal defense.
supporters say it helps preserve traditional marriage. >> unions of two men or two men are not the same as a marriage between a man and a woman. only marriage between man and a woman can connect children to their mother and father and their parents to the children. >> now, alex, the fact the court has agreed to take up both questions, including the one from california, could mean the justices are prepared to get to the constitutional heart of the same-sex marriage issue. if it did that, that might result in what would essentially be the roe v. wade of gay rights. alex. >> taking up this prop 8 with california, would their ruling necessarily apply then only to california? >> that's possible. it's possible, because the appeals court ruling that comes to the supreme court was designed to apply only to california. what it said is once a state grants an essential right like this, it can't then take it away. remember in 2008 early in the year, this california supreme court permitted same-sex couples
to get married, about 18,000 of them did. then prop 8 was passed in the general election putting a stop to it. so if the court just stops there, you're right. it would be a ruling that would apply only to california. if it decides to take that case and get to the constitutional question of whether any state for any reason can deny same-sex marriage couples the right to get married, then it would play nationwide. >> good to see you, pete. thank you. >> you bet. my pleasure. >> now the question of the day. what do you expect the supreme court to do on gay marriage. talk to me on twitter. my handle @alex witt. still ahead, 50 shades of green. plus new questions surrounding the tragic turn in the royal radio hoax. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." ♪
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and 5,000 shades of green. joining me now morgan brenner, staff writer. good morning. >> good morning. >> the latest jobs report shows 36,000 jobs added in november, that brings down the unemployment to a near five-year low at 7.7. the numbers beat the expectations. are there any caveats here. >> there are. it's better than what analysts expected. i would say there's three cav t caveats here. the first, the numbers for september and october downwardly revised by 50,000 less employees, less workers brought into the workforce in those two months. it's a strong likelihood we'll see the same thing happen with november numbers in coming months. second caveat here, the reason we saw that unemployment rate jump down to 7.7% we've seen more americans leave the workforce again. these are americans that are looking for a job and gave up. despite the fact we saw 146,000
added this month, it's not enough to really bring that unemployment number down in a huge way. >> the impact from hurricane sandy were minimal but jobs were lost. what do you think it would be like without the hurricane. >> i think that's a great question. the fact that the impact of the superstorm sandy was minimal, i think the biggest issue was the fact we did see people leave the workforce this month. i don't think you would have seen quite that drop in numbers if superstorm sandy hadn't happen. i think we actually would have seen unemployment rate closer to 7.9%. >> what about the new report that shows home prices jumping the fastest in seven years. what does it tell you about long-term health of the housing market. >> we've been hearing economists trumping returning housing market is the bright spot. this is a report from core logic showing home prices up -- have done the biggest year over year jump in six years. we're seeing the biggest jumps
in nevada, california, arizona. actually oil states like the dakotas. overall about 45 out of 50 states have shown increases in home prices. i think this is really good news. i think americans should also remember that real estate and recovering real estate is very local. so we're seeing most of the growth in large cities. >> what about this gift from random house to all of its employees. pretty nice. >> yes, call it 50 shades of green, if you will. random house, which is the publisher of "50 shades of grey," the lascivious adult novel that's been all the rage this year, the company has seen major uptick in large part because of the book and soars. the ceo announced this week at the holiday party that every one of the employees will get a $5,000 bonus this year. that's really great news especially in the world of publishing, which has been sort of on a downward death spiral. >> that's really nice for them. well, great. thank you very much. morgan brennan. >> in today's one-minute play back.
governor chris christie on "the daily show" the universal telethon for hurricane sandy victims and about meeting the boss bruce springsteen back stage. >> he came up, put his hands down. shook his hand. i tried to be cool. i wasn't. then he said, come on, give me a hug. i said, all right. i hugged him. >> did he go, come on, stop. >> no. you know, that's always hard to judge, right? when do you stop the man hug. it's hard. >> had to give also this, the pat or did you go slow down. >> i went slow dance. >> i've got to be kidding. >> no pat? >> no pat. i went slow dance. but then he said the most amazing thing to me. he said, it's official. we're friends. >> oh, wow. that's nice. that's nice. those antacids aren't working. oh no, not that, not here! [ male announcer ] antacids don't relieve gas.
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alex witt. new questions concerning the tragic turn in the royal radio hoax. anabell roberts live in london. good morning, anabell. what's the latest? >> reporter: well, alex, good morning to you. the latest is from australia where the boss of the radio station where the two deejays worked says they have been taken off air until further notice, their twitter accounts have been shut down. he also says they are completely shattered by this event and it was a tragedy nobody could really have reasonably foreseen. also separately the station decided to drop all advertising for the time being. seems to be some kind of pre-emptive move, they are pulling out because of the affair. >> they said nothing illegal was done here, right? not like they are going to face some sort of prosecution, these
two presenters. >> i think that is not really entirely clear. the media in australia has also given and interview saying it's not entirely clear whether laws have been broken, regarding, for example, whether someone needs to be informed before an interview is broadcast. now, clearly the two nurses who were recorded at the hospital behind me while they were on their night duty shift, one happened to pick up the phone because she was near the phone and she put it through to the other nurse who passed on the information about the duchess of cambridge we've all heard. they weren't forewarned that the words they were speaking would be broadcast around on the radio station in australia. of course, the radio station's lawyers did check through this before it was broadcast. we await to see what happens with that, alex. >> i have to tell you. this is heartbreaking. this nurse was much beloved, mother of two teenager kids.
it's just not to be believed. anyway, anabell roberts, thank you so much for that. the battle over marriage equality is heading to the supreme court for the first time in history. the court said late yesterday it would take up two cases on same-sex marriage. the rule would decide if it's unconstitutional for a state to deny same-sex couples the right to marry under california law. the court would decide whether gay and lesbian couples would be denied marriage benefits heterosexual receive. heading me, a lawyer that argued over 30 cases before the high court. good morning, patricia, good to see you first. >> good morning. >> we'll go to california and tackle that one. the public voted against legalizing gay marriage. how much appetite might the court have to overturn a public vote? >> a lot of the justices will have the view, almost all of them will say the constitution is not up for vote. it's not a public popularity contest when you're talking about constitutional rights.
now, their answers to that, the constitutional question is are highly likely to differ. i think they will agree across the board that sometimes it's their job to overturn laws notwithstanding the public vote. >> okay. proposition 8, i was asking this of pete williams, would this, if it gets overturned, does the ruling the supreme court comes down with, does it apply only to california or a federal mandate. >> depends what the ruling is. they have granted review of the fundamental question of whether the equal protection clause guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. if they make that ruling, that's going to be a national ruling. if they instead do what the lower court did and say look, california, you gave this right and arbitrarily pulled it back just as to this one group, that's unconstitutional. that will be a rule that will apply if any other state tries to do the same thing. so far it would only cover what happened in california. >> opinions on same-sex marriage they are evolving.
this week gallup released it's poll, 353% favor legalized same-sex marriage tying a previous high. it has no legal bearing. do they consider public sentiment when they consider cases? >> sure. they read the newspapers and watch the news on tv like anyone else. i think at some subconscious level someone will think about do they want to stand in the way of history. but fundamentally again the question for them is that the constitution is at issue here and how its protections evolve and change or whether they should evolve or change in time would be exactly the debate the justice is having. >> then what we had happen last month states legalizing same-sex marriage could any ruling from the supreme court affect that and if so, how. >> certainly it won't interfere with the state's ability to authorize these marriages on their own through the political
process. you know, if the supreme court says there's a fundamental right to gay marriage -- same-sex marriage, the ability of states to say, no, we won't have it, which is what has happened in some states as well, as you know, that will be overcome. >> the other case involves doma, defense of marriage act. what's at the heart of that question? >> not the fundamental right of same-sex marriage but whether the federal government can define marriage in a certain way, as between one man and one woman. historically that's been the job of the states to decide what marriage is, to define it. that really is the federal government stepping somewhere where it hasn't before. what they have done with that statute is say people can't have thousands of federal benefits. the case before the supreme court involves a woman who had to pay $363,000 in estate taxes
she wouldn't have had to pay just because the person she was married to was the same gender as herself. it's fairness but limbed to that one state. >> patricia, always good to see you. thanks for weighing in. >> thank you. >> the deadline for the fiscal cliff is just over three weeks away. lawmakers are still mired in part in gridlock, each side saying the other is to blame. what do their constituents think? cnbc says 21% would blame the president, 23% blame republicans, 52 blame each equally. oversight and reform committees, thanks for being here. good to have you. these new job numbers, does this give the president a better position on the fiscal cliff talks? >> i don't think it changes very much. it's part of a continuing trend we've seen over the last three or four years, very steady but
moderate job growth. i think as time passes clearly the president is holding the cards. his leverage becomes greater and greater. it's interesting speaker boehner canceled one day of business. he's already canceled one day of business next week. i think what he's trying to do is get his members out of town, out of washington so they can't coalesce under a strategy to undermine what he's doing. i think he's seriously looking through this. let's listen to what he said during a press conference yesterday. this is speaker boehner. >> even if the president got the tax rate hike he wanted, understand we would continue to see trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. >> listen, washington has got a spending problem, not a revenue problem. >> does the speaker have a point? >> well, not really. we do have a revenue problem. revenue is at the lowest percentage of the economy, the federal revenue it's been in 50
or 60 years, 15% historically it's run 18, 19%. so we do have a revenue problem. we also have a spending problem. to say what the president is proposing is not important or not significant is really incredibly misleading. we've been talking about a comprehensive package of $4 trillion worth of deficit reduction. even if you say we're only going to get a trillion in revenue for tax hikes, president ask the for $1.6 trillion, that's 20% of reduction, that's a good chunk of what we're trying to accomplish. i don't think the speaker is on solid ground there. >> potentially one-on-one talks between speaker boehner and the president, what might those yield if they would actually happen? >> i think what both sides are doing is trying to find a way to get through this with a political win and also without alienating or putting themselves in jeopardy.
the president can't put himself in jeopardy politically, speaker boehner obviously can. again, i think the president is holding most of the cards. speaker boehner doesn't want to be seen as caving too early. he would get a challenge for his speakership at the beginning of the next congress. he knows what the end game is going to be. there are going to be rises in tax rates for the wealthiest 2%. it's just a question of whether it's 37 or 39.6% and what else can he gets. if he's able to get some kind of concession on the spending side, then that, i think, saves him face with his more conservative members. >> this 37%, though, number that's been floated out there, what do your gop colleagues say to that number? >> they have been very, very adamant about not raising the rate at all. so i don't think probably the 37 is going to be any easier to swallow than 39.6. but i think what it would do is give speaker boehner some way to say, well, i got some
concessions. can't go all the way to maintain the exact rate of 35% but we got something. i think that's what he's looking for with that 37% initiative. >> all right, kentucky democratic representative john yarmuth. the other side of the aisle, republican jack kingston. up next office politics, road trip to iran with nicholas kristof from the "new york times." now with a fancy coating that gives you a burst of wildberry flavor. now why make a flavored heartburn pill? because this is america. and we don't just make things you want, we make things you didn't even know you wanted. like a spoon fork. spray cheese. and jeans made out of sweatpants. so grab yourself some new prilosec otc wildberry. [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. [ male announcer ] marie callender's puts everything you've grown to love
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maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. him to six continents. imagine all he's witnessed. i began by asking him about iran and what it's like to travel there as an american journalist. >> you know, it's amazing that you travel around iran and it feels like the most pro western country in the middle east. everybody, they find out you're an american, they just want to talk to you. they practically want to hug
you. i took my family with me, two of my kids with me on my last trip. so you know, we took a long road trip across the country. >> across iran. >> across iran. >> you drove in a car with your kids across iran. >> exactly. it was a little crazy. >> interesting. >> i was a little nervous child protective services was going to have a word with me when they found out about this. people would see my daughter and they just kind of flipped out. they were so gracious and just wanted to bring us into their homes and talk to us. there was embarrassment on the part of many people about their government and a real yearning for the prestige, influence that persia traditionally had had and embarrassment about what it has become. not true of all people. still many people support the regime, but overall i think there are a lot of people that
just feel this experiment with the islamic revolution has essentially failed. >> do you feel there's any appetite for another revolution within iran from those people who think the government in this experiment has failed? >> i think definitely. i think that if it were up to popular sentiment, i think you would have a very different government. at the end of the day, revolutions usually happen not when people are most upset but when they think they can get away with it. as long as the government is willing to shoot people, usually revolutions don't happen, with occasional exceptions. so my hunch is that we're not doing to see people rising up and forcibly overthrowing the government of iran. but the supreme leader in iran is getting pretty old. when he dies or becomes incapacitated, i think that is doing to be a chance to have a very different iran emerge. >> what kind of a father are you when you're not taking your
children on vacation driving through iran? what kind of a dad are you to your three children? >> one of the things that i think does set me apart, we do travel a lot together. i take my kids as much as i can on these trips. my daughter's big complaint, she's the baby of the family, is that she hasn't yet been arrested with me as the boys have. >> you've been arrested with your sons. >> my eldest son and i were -- there was an attempt in sudan on the border between sudan and south sudan to arrest us, although we had more gunmen than the other side did, show we were whisked away. so we were okay. my middle son was arrested with me in china once years ago. that was such a great father-son bonding experience, i really recommend an arrest. my daughter feels so cheated that she hasn't been -- >> what is wrong with you,
nicholas, seriously. i see you have clearly some talent in many ways in your family. we can see the evidence of artistic talent. this is your daughter's and your son's, one of your two sons. you must be proud. apparently she's given you pieces on loan. >> they are on loan from the artist, so i have to good care of them. this is kind of a gallery. >> more of our conversation with nick kristof. today at noon at noon. he will talk about you how he managed to get into syria and about one fum in his office that's shoechd to make you smarter. could they have a 37% solution to avoid the fiscal cliff. th to my daughter on may 18th, five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story.
let's talk about this poll which i just mentioned which also finds that 65% of voters support higher taxes on the top earners. does this put the gop in a weaker position politically overall? >> not really. if you ask people if they prefer ice cream to broccoli, they choose ice cream. if somebody else always pays higher taxes than you are, you're for it. the reality is you can't set good fiscal economic policy based on polls, and you really can't do it based on politics. we understand the president has the upper hand on the politics right now. there are more people who make less than there are in the top 1%, top 5% or whatever. will it create jobs? is that not the objective of all this? plus, deficit reduction, and while the president has spent most of this negotiation process talking about taxes, he hasn't talked about cuts as much what we want to see. we actually want to see us spend less money and not just project
on spending less money. >> but you've got to think of the public playing a role here. he we can't forget that our representatives are elected by the people, the will of the people puts them thered to their bidding. if you have this high of a percentage of people saying, look, we have to do this way. this is how we raise the rev nye we need to bring down the national debt. >> yes. the thing missing as constituents call individual congressman's office, we have the opportunity to talk to them about the spending side of the equation and what we would like to see is for every dollar in revenue increase, a $3 reduction, which is what the president has spoken about in the past. today all he keeps talking about is this class warfare, let's beat up on the rich. everybody gets that. it's good old-fashioned popul m populism. we understand. we have a national debt that is 100% of the gdp. for every dollar we spend, 42 cents is borrowed right now. and under this president he's
run up $7 trillion in deficits. he's averaged a deficit of 9% of gdp. george bush was 2% to 3% of gdp. so, you know, i think the discussion is is it really a tax problem or a tax and a spending problem? if we agree it is spending, let's start to talk about some of the spending. >> where will the compromise come, though? is there room to compromise on the tax percentage, or if you do the sliding scale and move it from the 250,000 benchmark to 500,000 income earnings benchmark. >> i think the discussion the speaker advanced which matches what the president talked about in terms of his campaign of $800 billion in new revenues, getting there through less deductions is on the table. at this point we want to see, mr. president you show us yours and we'll show us ours. these negotiations go step by
step closer and closer. i do agree with an early panelist that said the president probably wants to be a little bit freer from his base and so does the speaker to some degree. we are very interested in the spending cuts, and i can tell you that if the president gives us a good deal that reduces spending, takes down the deficit, and turns the economy around and creates jobs, we're going to be all ears for it. we're very, very open to that. >> that's good to hear. republican congressman jack kingston from georgia. thank you so much. that's a wrap. join me for a two-hour edition of the show today at 12:00 tonight. straight ahead we have "up with chris hayes." he's up next. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement.